Fort Worth Star Telegram Runs False Stories of Obamacare “Victims”

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The Fort Worth Star Telegram recently ran a story that seemed too damning of the Affordable Care Act to be true. And it turns out it wasn't.

Health insurance consumer website healthinsurance.org ran a great profile on cases of Obamacare “horror stories” that are actually just journalistic horror stories. It found that the Star Telegram's story, “Obamacare stirs anxiety for thousands with canceled policies,” doesn't just include gross misinformation, but gross misinformation that was sourced from Tea Party members without fact checking.  While they managed to catch the Star Telegram in the act of blindly printing speculative and hyperbolic claims, it begs the question of how many more Obamacare “victims” are really Obamacare opponents who haven't bothered to understand how the law actually affects them.

Read more about the Star Telegram's shoddy anti-Obamacare reporting after the jump. The Star Telegram article opens with the story of Whitney Johnson, a 26 year old mother with multiple sclerosis whose insurance plan was canceled under Obamacare, forcing her to pay over $1,000 per month on her new plan. It would be a tragic story if it was true, but it's not.

The reporter covering Whitney's story never verified that Whitney would actually have to pay that much for a plan on the exchange, and Whitney figured out for herself that she wouldn't have to either – when she got a plan for $350 a month, only $25 more than what she had been paying for a plan that covered less. And despite the fact that this Obamacare “victim” actually got a pretty good deal, still no retraction has been printed in the Star Telegram, leaving its 200,000+ readers to potentially believe that that's what plans for people like Whitney cost on the federal exchange.

Whitney is also one of the three people profiled in the article who are active members of the Tea Party. One of the others claimed to face a $20,000 deductible on the exchange, when a) he had never actually checked, and b) deductibles are capped under the ACA at under $13,000.

By running this article without a retraction, the Star Telegram is playing into the hands of Rick Perry and his allies who would rather 6 million Texans remain uninsured that learn about their options and take advantage of the Affordable Care Act.  

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About Author

Emily Cadik

Emily is a Texas ex-pat and proud Longhorn living in Washington, DC, where she remains connected to the Lone Star State through her work on BOR and her enthusiasm for breakfast tacos. She works on affordable housing policy, and writes about health care, poverty and other social justice issues.

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